Eight years ago I watched the election returns with disbelief as Barack Obama was winning the presidency. I was speechless as he took the stage in Millennium Park among thousands of cheering supporters. Our nation had elected an African-American POTUS for the first time. The world rejoiced, America had finally arrived having put her deep sins of racism behind her. I was in disbelief because I knew that bigotry was deep and wide in this country. I was in disbelief because I knew that hate was alive and well in homes, communities and yes the church. I was speechless, with hope.
TODAY, I wish I could say I’m in disbelief but I am not. True colors unveiled themselves yesterday. The deep seated distrust of difference reared his ugly head in the privacy of the voting booth. The fallacy of a post-racial America was proven last night. I know that every person who voted for President-elect Trump is not prejudiced against persons of color, LGBTQ persons, differently abled persons, immigrants or sexist. Some are simply disenchanted by systems that they believe have let them down. Many have not rode the coat tails of Wall Street recovery and growth and have seen their budgets squeezed by stagnated wages and rising costs of living. And, some of his supporters will wake up today in disbelief as did many after the BREXIT vote in the UK in June.
TODAY, I am not disappointed or shocked because I expected no less or no more. My hope is not dashed because my hope is not based in political power or the domination systems of our world. My hope is in the love and grace of God, for me made known in Jesus Christ. My hope is in people, because I have witnessed people standing up for the marginalized, oppressed, feared and loathed. My hope is in my sons who share my values for unconditional love and honesty, inclusion and acceptance, putting people and planet before profit, and peace for all people.
TODAY, I am not in a panic because my white male privilege allows me to say there’s always 2020 and to remind myself that the POTUS has limited power in the system we have, albeit as broken as it may be. My only fear today is for my sisters and brothers who are erroneously empowered to act on their prejudices and hatred which they believe resonate with America and for any they would enact their ignorance upon. We have old deep lines of division, gulfs of difference, and barriers to progress that make “the wall” look like a simple bump in the road. And that means I continue to have work to do, we continue to have work to do to advance grace, love, peace and justice. We have a clear mission and call to demonstrate solidarity, to act in kindness, to work for justice, and to hear with humility the voices of all who are trampled on and exploited by unjust systems, greed and hatred.
TODAY, I am committed to hope.